Instead it will repatriate funds to the boroughs where services face an uncertain and highly vulnerable future.
On October 19th the Executive Group of London Councils Grants Committee decided they would continue to fund priority services that could only be delivered on a pan London or multi borough basis. They specifically identified single homelessness services as services that these criteria. The full Grants Committee yesterday decided not to continue funding 28 services at a cost of £3.2 million. These services will be at the mercy of decisions of boroughs which are, in many cases, already proposing cuts of 25-40% to the homelessness services they already fund.
One example is the London Street Rescue service, operated by Thames Reach across the whole of London. This reaches rough sleepers and operates a single number helpline for the public to ring if they see someone sleeping rough who needs help. This service will lose the 25% of its funding it currently receives from London Councils. Despite its work in 32 London boroughs it has been designated as "essentially local" in nature by London Councils.
Another example is New Horizons Youth Centre which is to lose 75% of its public funding at a stroke. It works with young people who have fallen through every other element of the welfare state and helps move them away from homelessness. It was only last year that a £1.6 million Lottery capital grant helped them to create a state-of-the-art facility with kitchen, launderette, counselling rooms, recreation, computer and literacy provision, and a lot more that enables them to get young people housed, employed, educated and rehabilitated. Now the work that takes place there is in jeopardy.
The London Councils’ Leaders Committee meets on 14 December and this is the last chance to ask them for a rethink.
Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, the national network representing London’s frontline homelessness charities, said,
“The loss of strategic funding for London’s homelessness services used by a highly mobile population just makes no sense. These are priority services at a time when the flow onto the streets from the recession has increased by 20% over the last 3 months. Due to heroic efforts this has not led to an increase in the numbers sleeping out on any night, but its touch and go whether we can stay ahead. This is the worst time to threaten the future of services that are helping London’s most vulnerable people keep away from a life without shelter at great risk to their health and even life.
"We have joined with the Mayor of London to lobby London Councils for the re-categorisation of services which clearly support individuals from across the capital, not just individual boroughs.
"We call for an urgent rethink by the Leaders’ Committee”
Have your say on this story using the comment section below